October 26, 2020

An eventless year


2020… what a year! To say its been an eventless year maybe isn’t quite right, there has been a lot of events, from forest fires to corona. What I should have called this should have been more along the lines of ‘A year of no kayaking events’, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. 


This year has been a weird one for any sports person who enters competitions or shows their faces at various events. The world of kayaking is a very social one, with events being the hub of this socialisation as they bring paddlers from all around the country together for a weekend. With lockdowns and various rules around corona through this year, nearly all the kayaking events in the 2020 calendar wound up being cancelled or postponed. This made for a weird year of paddling for me and all other paddlers who compete. 

 

My plan for 2020 included Galway fest, a home world cup, Europeans in France, the dewerstone euro open, and arguably the most important event of them all, my wedding! Out of all of this I only ever made it to one event, right at the start of the year, but it was a good one! Galway fest managed to sneak in there just weeks before the UK went into a national lockdown. As always, those guys killed it and threw the event of the year (literally). 

 

From there the cancellations and postponements came rolling in from domestic and international events. When all your paddling revolves around competing and there are suddenly no competitions its very weird. You take a little time off, admittedly forced during lockdown, then get released back onto the water. Suddenly all of it is fun, from simple flat spins to falling flat on your face trying a trick you have no business trying. You are just happy to be back out on the water.

This newfound enjoyment of just being on the water at last got me questioning my motivations and aims within paddling. I was wondering if I even wanted to compete anymore. A big question I had to chew over. Luckily, I have an amazing coach/mentor/mate/listener (not sure what title to give him) up in Scotland and an amazing coach who both took the time to talk with me about it all. With their help I answered the question and came to a realisation about myself and my paddling. I suppose that is one good thing that has come out of an eventless year for me, and I can’t thank the guys enough. 


It has also been a chance to recharge the batteries, top up event excitement, and maybe even come up with some ideas for future events (there may be a dewerstone euro open announcement coming). So, despite the lack of events, this may turn out to be a year where events develop themselves the most. Taking the opportunity to look outside the sport for inspiration. 


It looked like we may have been getting one last event this year in the freestyle calendar, team trials for the 2021 world championships here in Nottingham. A big event because who doesn’t want to represent their country at a home world championship? The freestyle committee worked hard sussing out all the rules and regulations, and how to follow them. It seemed it was all worked out and we were going to compete! Unfortunately, corona popped its little virus-y head up again and started spreading fast. Due to this, the committee took the tough but sensible decision to postpone the selection event to 2021. And with this, the possibility of competing again in 2020 was gone. 

During these unpredictable times we have no idea what 2021 will bring, if we will be back at events or if we will be kept waiting for even longer. The only thing for certain is that we are in for a cold winter and this damn virus isn’t going anywhere soon. Hopefully we will all be reunited on the river soon!